Com­mu­nity hub to take over bowls club

YMCA in­tends to re­fur­bish fa­cil­i­ties and build new cen­tre

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - CH­ERYL PEEBLES cpee­bles@the­courier.co.uk

A £500,000 new com­mu­nity hub in one of Scot­land’s most de­prived ar­eas is a step closer to cre­ation.

Kirk­caldy YMCA is to take over the for­mer Gal­la­town Bowl­ing Club in Kirk­caldy, where it in­tends to re­fur­bish ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties and build a new cen­tre.

Fife Coun­cil ap­proved a com­mu­nity as­set trans­fer of the premises that will see it sell the site to the group for £1,000, con­sid­er­ably lower than its market value.

Kirk­caldy YMCA hopes build­ing work will be­gin early next year on the Gal­la­town Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, al­low­ing it to pro­vide even more much-needed ser­vices.

The Gal­la­town area is among the top 2% of de­prived ar­eas of Scot­land, with 38.9% of its chil­dren liv­ing in poverty.

Kirk­caldy YMCA gen­eral sec­re­tary Liz Eas­ton said: “We are do­ing the right thing in the right place for the right peo­ple at the right time.”

The or­gan­i­sa­tion, which also op­er­ates from Val­ley Gar­dens and Dysart, al­ready pro­vides ser­vices from the leased bowl­ing club and a for­mer restau­rant in the Gal­la­town.

How­ever, Liz said nei­ther were fit for pur­pose or fully ac­ces­si­ble, with the for­mer suf­fer­ing from damp.

The new and re­fur­bished premises will al­low it to add to the pro­jects it al­ready runs for chil­dren and adults, in­clud­ing feed­ing fam­i­lies dur­ing school hol­i­days, a men­tal health café, bike scheme and cook­ing classes.

It in­tends to make use of the green space at the bowl­ing club by of­fer­ing ac­tiv­i­ties such as a messy chil­dren’s club and den build­ing and by build­ing a cy­cle track.

Liz said: “This is about hav­ing a com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity with a green space at­tached to it.

“We all know hav­ing ac­cess to the out­doors sup­ports improve­ment of phys­i­cal and men­tal well­be­ing and we will be try­ing to bring the out­side in.

“We will be of­fer­ing train­ing and em­ploy­ment at fa­cil­i­ties which are ac­ces­si­ble to all, we will be at the heart of the com­mu­nity, in Gal­la­town Park, and we hope there will be a huge ben­e­fit from that.”

Ini­tially a £68,000 up­grade of the ex­ist­ing build­ing will be con­ducted be­fore work on the £500,000 new build be­gins, which could be com­plete by the end of 2019.

It is hoped a grant of £230,000 from the Big Lot­tery and fund­ing from other sources will be ap­proved shortly.

A re­port to the coun­cil’s as­sets, prop­erty and fa­cil­i­ties com­mit­tee which ap­proved the trans­fer of the bowl­ing club said that Gal­la­town faced sig­nif­i­cant is­sues in­clud­ing men­tal health is­sues, sub­stance mis­use, un­em­ploy­ment and low at­tain­ment.

It said: “The as­set which will be ac­quired will be fully re­fur­bished and ac­ces­si­ble to the com­mu­nity and pro­jects de­liv­ered will pro­vide learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren and adults, of­fer­ing green spa­ces and em­ploy­ment and vol­un­teer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

We all know hav­ing ac­cess to the out­doors sup­ports improve­ment of phys­i­cal and men­tal well­be­ing and we will be try­ing to bring the out­side in

Pic­ture: Steven Brown.

Some of the peo­ple who are hop­ing the £500,000 plan be­comes a re­al­ity.

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